About Me

My photo
Mumbai, India
I'm a landrace dog fancier, birder and amateur arachnologist. I'm also a wildlife conservationist working in the tiger reserves of central India with Satpuda Foundation. Founder of the INDog Project (www.indog.co.in) and the INDog Club. I worked with urban free-ranging dogs of Mumbai for 14 years.

This blog is for aboriginal breed enthusiasts. It is part of the INDog Project www.indog.co.in. Only INDogs (Indian Pariah) and INDog-mix mongrels are featured here. The two are NOT the same, do please read the text on the right to understand the difference. Our aim: to create awareness about the primitive natural breed called the Indian Pariah Dog/INDog.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Enna

Anamika Rawal wrote in about her lovely pup Enna, adopted in Mumbai some months ago:

























On March 31 on my way home from shopping, I met a friend and stopped to chat. 

Suddenly I realized something was going around my feet. And guess what - five or six cuties were playing on my feet, jumping. One was pulling my shoelace!! 

I can't describe how cute they were, and how tiny, hardly 30 days old. 

I was so excited I called my fiance to come and see the pups. His office is nearby. And I was so surprised when he immediately picked up one of the pups for me. Surprised because he never liked dogs, but he gave me this beautiful innocent creature. And he is madly in love with the puppy now!
























We call her Enna. She's highly intelligent. I had a labrador and pomeranian in the past, but what they took six months to learn, Enna had done by 4 months. She's lovely, her energy level is incredible, she's super-alert, her patience is remarkable - although a little less than a labrador, yet she's much more patient than most dogs. She's joyful and playful, and so innocent she thinks all my visitors come home just to play with her!

 






















Text and photos: Anamika Rawal
Mumbai

Please do not use images/content from this blog without permission and acknowledgment

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Dog-keeping down the ages

Occasionally I come across this view that dog-keeping is a 'Western notion' that has only recently become fashionable in India. 

Huh??

Okay, this does apply to the urban middle class; but about 70% or Indians happen to live in rural areas, where dog ownership is very common. 

And as it happens dog-keeping was well-known in this country long, long before we knew of any Western notions.

So when did we Indians start keeping dogs?

I don't know exactly when dog-keeping began, but here are a few glimpses of the archaeological record: 

























This is a copy of a Neolithic rock engraving from Burzahom, North India; date possibly around 2000 BC. You can see a photo of the actual engraving in this photo gallery. It's the third image from the top. 

(It's funny, what most people first notice in this picture is the twin suns; but the thing I first noticed was the curly-tailed dog!)

























And here's a drawing from the ancient rock shelters at Bhimbetka, Central India. In his detailed study 'Prehistoric Rock Paintings of Bhimbetka', Dr Yashodhar Mathpal lists 41 drawings of dogs in these shelters. According to his chronology 14 of these drawings are from the Mesolithic/prehistoric period; 8 from the transitional phase between prehistoric and historic periods; and 19 from the historic period.

Read more about the archaeological record for dogs in India in the INDog website.

Domestic dog remains have been found in many Harappan sites (Harappan period: 3rd - 2nd millennium B.C.)

'Dogs were known to be watch animals guarding the settlements and the domestic stock and also their role in the hunting pursuit of man cannot be ruled out.' That's the opinion of P. K. Thomas, Yoshiyuki Matsushima & Arati Deshpande in the chapter on 'Faunal Remains' in 'Kuntasi, a Harrappan Emporium on the West Coast', 1996.

Here's what P. P. Joglekar and Pankaj Goyal have to say in 'Faunal Remains from Jaidak (Pithad), a Sorath Harappan Site in Gujarat', 2010: 'Other domestic animals included in the assemblage that were used neither for food nor as draft animals were dogs (Canis familiaris) and cats (Felis catus)...No human activity was noticed on these fragments and these were probably kept as pets like today.'

A pariah-type dog skull found at Mohenjo-Daro was described in detail by Colonel R.B. Seymour Sewell and Dr B.S. Guha in 'Mohenjo-Daro and the Indus Civilization' (edited by John Marshall, 1931). The authors commented on the skull's similarity to other ancient domestic dog remains found in Anau and Russia, and also on its similarity to the Australian Dingo and to the village Indian pariah dogs of the present day.

Other than dog remains, figurines of pet dogs with collars were also excavated at Mohenjo-Daro. They seem to show three breeds, the pariah dog and two others.

(The record also indicates that there were scavenging dogs at many of the settlements - just as there are even today - but there were obviously pet dogs as well).























Here's a scene from the railing of the Bharhut Stupa (Central India), showing a woman seated with dogs and cats. Probable date of this railing: 3rd - 2nd century BC. 

Ancient Indian literature has references to both pet and ownerless dogs.

Pet dogs are mentioned in the Rg Veda (composed between 1300 - 1000 B.C.) Three deities own dogs: Indra, Rudra and Yama. Indra's dog is the celestial bitch Sarama, mother of all dogs. Here's an earlier post about Sarama.

And dog ownership seems to have been quite common among mortals as well!

Many of these dogs were guardians for the home.

'Be like two dogs, warding off injury to our persons...' - that's the Rg Veda 2-39-4.

'White offspring of Sarama, with tawny limbs, although barking you display your teeth against me, bristling like lances in your gums, nevertheless, go quietly to sleep' - a hymn to appease a watchdog, Rg Veda 7-55-2.

Incidentally, Sanskrit words for 'dog' included vakra valadhi, vakra puccha, vakra pucchika - meaning 'curly-tailed'. Dogs depicted in ancient art usually have high curled tails. As far as I know, the only Indian breed which has erect ears and curled tail is the INDog.

Fast forward to the present. Here are two contemporary tribal depictions of domestic dogs.
























This one is a typical metalwork sculpture from Bastar, Central India. Hunting is now illegal in India by the way, but it remains a theme in the art of hunting tribes.
























And this is a Rs 5 stamp recently released by India Post, showing a typical painting of the Warli tribe (Western India).

There are many photos of rural pet dogs in the INDog photo gallery,  have a look if you haven't seen them already.

Photos: I've mentioned the sources of the first three images in the form of watermarks across each image. The Burzahom drawing is from Upinder Singh's 'A History of Ancient and Mediaeval India, from the Stone Age to the 12th Century'. The photo of the Bhimbetka leashed dog is by K.L. Kamat, from the site www.kamat.com I used it in the INDog site with the owner's permission. The photo of the Bharhut Stupa railing is from 'The Ganges in Myth and History' by Stephen G. Darian.

I spotted the Bastar iron sculpture in the crafts store Avante in Mumbai. The photo was clicked by Kalpana Malani.

I don't use other people's images without acknowledgment. If you want to use images from my blog, I hope you'll extend me the same courtesy.

Read about dogs in ancient Indian literature: Willem Bollee's 'Gone to the Dogs in Ancient India' is a fascinating study of this subject.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

INDog in a Mumbai marsh

I met this perfect INDog on Sunday, while birding with friends in a marsh near Thane Creek. 
























He was walking along a road near the Bhandup pumping station, with two other dogs, an elderly couple and a small herd of goats. 

The lady sat down to rest and two of the dogs settled down with her. The other dogs had semi-dropped ears, but this one was all INDog!
























It was an odd thing to see in such an industrial setting: goatherds against the backdrop of a pumping station. 

The lady was very proud of all her dogs. This one had been born nearby she said, and she had adopted him when he was a pup. Another of the dogs had been left in that area so she had adopted her too. That dog (not in these pics) had a notched ear, showing that she had been neutered by one of the Mumbai non-profits. I'm guessing the dog was dumped in the wrong area after neutering, something that happens all too often under this 'welfare programme'.

Nobody could come near her goats, she said, when her dogs were with them.

My friend Kalpana offered to click the dog for me, as I had no camera. Here are the pics. Thanks Kalpana!
























The owner tried bribing the dog with a biscuit to get him to stand for a photo. He stood up for a second, took the biscuit politely and then settled down again. 

INDogs never never never will be slaves!!


























Photos: Kalpana Malani 
Mumbai